When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
Hank can’t stop thinking about his business. He hopes his recent account will hurry up and pay their bills. How will he meet his budget for the month?
Sue hasn’t run in a week. She’s feeling out of shape, but just doesn’t have the time due to other obligations. She’s left feeling anxious about it all. What will happen to her fitness if she can’t run again soon?
Megan is starting graduate school. The workload will be her hardest yet, and she feels obligated to do well, because good ethic and good class standing demand it. The prospect of this upcoming semester seems horribly daunting.
Ben just lost his brother. He feels so overwhelmed. Between emotions, and carrying on with life, and worrying about everyone else, he just feels drained.
How many of us do not struggle with anxiety at some point or another? It manifests itself uniquely and in varying degrees in each of us. Our “feet slip” and we are lost in the multitude of the thoughts within us: in worry, stress, fear, restlessness, and a troubled spirit.
Anxiety is a crippling fear that stems from a lack of trust in God. When we worry, we have more belief in our problems than in God’s promises! Lydia Brownback asks in Trust, “What is your rock–not the one you say is your rock, but the one you actually lean on? What circumstances are you facing today, or might have to face tomorrow that overwhelm you with faith-quenching anxiety? On whom or what do you depend to get you through the day? “Whatever assumes in our lives a practical importance that is greater than God will become god to us.” We are instructed in Philippians 4:6 to “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” When our feet slip, He, not those things that we are trying to control, will hold us up.
Anxiety comes from an over-attachment to the things of this earth. We Christians are to live for one reason alone. As Calvin put it, “we are consecrated and dedicated to God, and, therefore, should not henceforth think, speak, meditate, or act, without a view to His glory.” All of our life is a part of God’s plan for His Church, with the goal of our eternal salvation. We are to live for God and what He has promised us. And if this is truly what we are living for, then popularity, good looks, wealth, name, fitness, education, and any such like have little sway, for our true goal does not depend on them. Those only affect our temporary life here below.
Anxiety comes, thirdly, from the desire for control in life. We want life to go according to our plan. But the truth is, such control is elusive. We will always have troubles and unfulfilled longings on this side of heaven (Romans 8:22,23). God alone controls our lives, and it is His perfect plan, not our own plans that come to pass.
We, as the Church of Christ, are built on the solid Rock of our saving God, rather than on the shifting sands of earth-centered cares. God is the one true reason we are here–why you, reading this, here in this moment, are alive on this earth–and if we expect to cling to anything else in this world, we will find discontentment and frustration. Everything of this world is in itself vanity and shall in time pass away as dust in the wind. We can only find peaceful joy and solace when we live for our One sure Foundation, and Him alone (Matthew 6:24,25).
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. –Romans 8:18
So what about the anxieties that we are burdened with? We have responsibilities in this life and as good stewards ought indeed care about how we live our lives. So what do we do with these worries? We remove ourselves of them. We cast them on the One in control–the One who alone can truly bear them.
When we cast our cares and worries on God, they no longer drag us down. The One who has the strength alone to carry them lifts them onto His own shoulders. He is the One Who delights our soul with comfort (Ps 94:19). What a relief! What a burden is lifted! The moments, the days, the years that are laid before us are no longer our worry. We simply have to live day by day to the glory of God, to the best of our ability, and leave what happens in God’s hand. Though we prepare for the future, we don’t have to worry about what may or may not happen, what people may or may not think, or what expectations of our own we may or may not meet. We don’t have to live for our desires, our image, our careers and plans. We live each and every day for our Father and His pleasure. All that we do flows out of our love for God and His love for His people. Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33,34). Let go of anxiety! All is in God’s hand! And nothing is more important for our true well-being than Him!
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.